Today’s Scripture – August 12, 2016

Dear friends and followers,

I have missed a few days, because on Monday I had surgery for prostate cancer.  I am home again, and resting.  I would appreciate your prayers for a quick and thorough recovery.  Thanks!

Matthew 4:18-22 (NIV) As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

When Jesus called these first disciples, He was not calling them to a promise of heaven someday.  He was calling them to follow Him personally and be reshaped into people who would be actively involved in the here and now reality of the Kingdom of God.

Because they were fishermen, Jesus couched the invitation to them in language that specifically appealed to them:  the invitation to leave off fishing for fish, and to be remade into men who would fish for people instead.

This wasn’t the first time that these men had met Jesus, by the way.  He had been pointed out to a couple of them (Andrew, and probably John) by John the Baptist, and after they had spent the day with Him, they started bringing others to Him as well.  (cf. John1:35-42.)  They were convinced that He was the Messiah, and they were open to becoming His disciples.  But the call to leave everything behind didn’t come immediately.  It came a short time after all of them had returned to Galilee.  The men went back to plying their trade as fishermen, and kept at it until Jesus showed up at their worksites and invited them to participate in the transformation of the world.

The men whom Jesus chose were men of action, men of passion.  An invitation to join a Bible study or to attend a worship service, with the promise of heaven someday would have had little or no draw for them.  But the challenge to become part of God’s kingdom breaking into the world held a lot of allure.  The opportunity to be at the center of transforming the world, and of being a personal friend of the Messiah Himself was more than enough to draw them away from the familiar pillars of their lives and after Jesus.

Father, this is very different from our normal evangelistic methodology, where we try to draw people on the basis of the promise of a better, more pleasant life here and now, and heaven at some point in the future.  Jesus called people to become a part of what You were currently doing; an opportunity to live a life of impact that would last for all eternity.  And, yes, a life of active relationship with You through their relationship with Jesus.  That’s a profound difference!  Help us, Lord, to recapture the evangelistic zeal of Jesus as we ourselves offer an invitation to those outside the kingdom to repent, find cleansing, and forgiveness, and power, and then the opportunity to be actively involved in the process of transforming our world.  Amen.

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